Panamagate Case: ‘Supreme Court to see if there was a misuse of power’
ISLAMABAD: A new Supreme Court (SC) larger bench led by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa resumed the hearing of ‘Panama Papers Leaks’ case on Wednesday from where it was left last year by a previous bench.
On the very first day of the hearing, a five-member SC bench announced to hear the high-profile case on a daily basis, claiming it would try to give a decision on the case at the earliest without any delay.
The court later, adjourning the case until tomorrow (Thursday), sought details of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s official positions he held during different tenures.
“Whenever the premier held an official designation, his business matters went ahead,” remarked Justice Khosa and added, “The court will have to evaluate if there was a misuse of official position.”
The top court asked: During which years, Nawaz Sharif held the positions of a minister and chief minister in Punjab and prime minister of the country?
“During a 1997 interview, the premier had said that he would remain distant from his business, but he kept on doing politics and business at the same time,” Justice Khosa continued in the court.
The bench also sought details about prime minister’s years in exile.
Justice Ijaz-ul-Hasan said that the Sharif family would have to clarify their position over the transfer of money.
Later Justice Azmat Saeed also inquired about money transfer laws in Dubai and Qatar.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) lawyer Naeem Bukhari opened the hearing today by highlighting details of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s April 4 speech on the leaks.
He said the prime minister never mentioned Qatari investment in his speeches.
“You are counting on two speeches of the prime minister,” remarked Justice Hasan after Bukhari made his points and added, “A decision on the case will be made on facts only.”
The top court questioned the legality of the reports and documents by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), world’s biggest ever data leaked in April 2016.
“The ICIJ reports and documents have been released on an international level,” said Bukhari and added, “These documents have never been challenged till now.”
“You have to prove the pre-2006 ownership of Nelson and Nescol companies, and then the situation will be different,” Justice Khosa told the PTI lawyer.
The court also raised a point that if the property belonged to Mian Sharif, PM Nawaz’s father, then it must have been equally distributed and if it was a will of Mian Sharif then it should be presented before the court as well.
Senior PTI leaders including chairman Imran Khan, Jehangir Tareen, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Shireen Mazari and Awami Muslim League (AML) Chief Sheikh Rasheed were also present in the courtroom along with key PML-N leaders.
Chief Justice Pakistan (CJP) Justice Saqib Nisar formed the SC bench comprising Supreme Court judges last year – Justice Azmat Saeed, Justice Ijaz Afzal, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Ijaz-ul-Hasan – to hear the case.
A day ahead of the ‘Panama Papers Leaks’ case hearing on Tuesday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his children and son-in-law changed their lawyers, while PTI submitted a set of additional documents to the court.
PM brings in new legal team
Senior lawyer Salman Aslam Butt has been replaced by Makhdoom Ali Khan to defend the premier. A formal application in this regard has been submitted to the court.
Likewise, senior lawyer Salman Akram Raja will appear on behalf of Prime Minister’s children, Maryam Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz and Hasan Nawaz in today’s hearing.
PTI submits more evidence
Naeem Bukhari, on behalf of Imran Khan and his party, submitted the documentary evidence at the top court.
According to details, the documents include a letter sent to the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca and an old interview of PM Sharif given to a local new channel some years ago, as important evidence to support PTI’s stance in the case.
In addition, the party also included a document regarding the worth of London flats showing them as part of the Sharif family’s property before 2006.
Briefing media on the new evidence Khan said, “Changing lawyers and Donald Trump’s call will not help Sharifs in Panama Case.”